BayCare Connects Hospitals to the Next Level of Critical Care
CLEARWATER, Fla. (Nov. 5, 2014) – As part of its commitment to connect patients to exceptional care, BayCare Health System is taking the treatment of critically ill patients to the next level with the introduction of eCare, a telemedicine-based program.
Combining medical expertise, technology and experienced critical care nurses and doctors, eCare is an electronic patient monitoring system that uses remote computer monitoring technology to enhance the care of critically ill patients. Through this technology including banks of computer monitors located at a centralized location, eCare connects a specially trained team of critical care physicians and nurses to the bedside team in the hospital.
“With the support of additional clinical expertise combined with real-time, two-way communication, eCare will clinically transform the way we deliver care to our critically ill patients,” said Lisa Johnson, vice president of patient services, Morton Plant Mease. Johnson is leading the implementation of eCare across all of the BayCare hospitals. “We believe eCare is the first system of this scope to be implemented in Tampa Bay area hospitals,” Johnson noted.
BayCare’s eCare program works through a centralized communication center called eCare Central equipped with computers that link to intensive care (ICU) rooms at BayCare hospitals. Through two-way audio/visual equipment and high-definition cameras installed in each patient room, the eCare clinical team consisting of nurses and physicians can monitor and evaluate a patient’s condition from the communication center. The bedside nurse, physician or any other clinical team member has the ability to call for assistance from the eCare Central team by pressing an “eLert” button mounted on the wall in each patient’s room.
The remote clinical team can then “camera in” to the patient’s room to conduct a patient assessment and discuss care with the bedside staff and patient. The eCare Central team also remotely monitors patient vital signs, reviews lab results and care plans. Working together, the hospital team and the team located at eCare Central continually monitor critically ill patients to identify subtle changes in patient conditions.
Just like hospitals, eCare Central is staffed 24 hours a day/365 days a year. eCare’s staff consists of experienced critical care nurses and board-certified intensive care physicians. To support physicians in the hospital, an eCare doctor is scheduled to be in eCare Central during the evening shift. All patient privacy guidelines and regulations will be followed the same as any other hospital process involving patient care.
“e-Care provides additional resources and extra support to the ICU teams in the hospitals and enables round-the-clock access to critical care expertise, when and where it is needed,” said Devendra Amin, MD, a pulmonologist, intensive care physician and medical director of eCare. “As shown by other hospitals with similar services, patients experience reduced lengths of stay, lower frequency of complications and decreased re-admissions to the ICU. What’s most important for patients and families to know about eCare is that the bedside staff and the eCare staff work together as a team with the goal of providing optimum care,” said Dr. Amin.
Starting in November, BayCare’s eCare will begin implementation in BayCare hospitals in Pinellas and West Pasco counties. BayCare plans to fully integrate eCare technology into all of its hospitals in 2016.
BayCare’s eCare central is located at the St. Anthony’s Outpatient Center, 900 Carillon Parkway, St. Petersburg.
As part of its partnership with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC for pediatric cardiovascular surgery, one of the BayCare hospitals, St. Joseph’s Children’s, is using mobile telemedicine carts to connect with a specialized remote team in Pittsburgh to assist in providing cardiac care pediatric ICU patients in the Tampa Bay community.
BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 13 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. Inpatient and outpatient services include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness. Our mission is to improve the health of all we serve through community-owned, health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. For more information, visit BayCare on the Web at www.BayCare.org.